Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
There are some massive games on Thursday night in the college basketball landscape as Thursday usually turn out to be the best night of the week. This Thursday is no exception with a couple of top 25 schools facing off including two in the top 10. College Basketball has been tough to predict this early in the season (looking at you North Carolina!) but for the most part, the same juggernauts have appeared at the top and look poised for another deep run into March Madness.
One of those juggernauts resides in Michigan State where the Spartans are coming off one of the most impressive victories of the season when they held the Tar Heels to just 45 points. Now ranked third in the nation they’ll have another tough test on their hands when they welcome the Fighting Irish to town. Notre Dame is ranked fifth in the country and remain undefeated this season with a sparkling 6-0 record.
The Fighting Irish have been a force on offense this season and will attempt to continue their domination on that side of the ball straight from the opening tip. Notre Dame runs almost everything through Bonzie Colson who is an absolute weapon wherever he is on the floor. He can shoot the three, bang it inside, and collect rebounds when the going gets tough. He’s averaging an incredible 20.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. The fact that he’s accomplishing all of this at just 6’5” is incredible but his lack of height may be tough to overcome against Michigan State’s long defenders.
The Spartans have some of the best men inside in the country in Jaren Jackson and Miles Bridges. Both are more than capable of guarding Colson on their own and will allow each to rest as they take turns trying to stop the Notre Dame phenom. Remember that this is the same team that held the high scoring Tar Heels to just 45 points in their last outing, so Colson will have his work cut out for him regardless of who he’s matching up against.
As for Michigan State’s offense look no further than Miles Bridges in this matchup. While he hasn’t put up the gaudy numbers many people expected this season, he’s still averaging 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds a game but a lot of his scoring production has come from behind the three-point line. With how small Notre Dame’s defenders are Bridges has a real chance to bang the ball inside and help bring Michigan State’s offense into a top ten unit (They’re currently ranked 14th in the country)
Still, regardless of how well the Spartans bang the ball inside or defend the net, they still have to contend with one of the best point guards in the country. Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell has been a revelation this season and will truly be the X-factor for the Fighting Irish on Thursday night. He’s averaging 17.5 points per game and 4.5 assists which are some of the best numbers in his conference. He’ll try and run circles around Michigan State’s defense and if he succeeds, the Irish will be in a good position to win this game.
Notre Dame is off to a rolling start and has all the tools necessary to win this game, if not cover the spread at the very least.
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